Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 14 January, 2021
Accurate as of: 14 January 2021
Current UK status:
Visit https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ for all official information.
- As of 4pm on 12 January 2021, a total of 58,891,289 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 3,211,576 people have tested positive.
- 84,767 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
- As of 5 January, the whole UK has re-entered national lockdown.
- Guidance for the current lockdown rules in England can be found
UK travel restrictions:
Visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office for all official information.
- UK residents can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where they first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, they should consider the public health advice in the country they are visiting.
- UK residents cannot leave their home or the place where they are living for holidays or overnight stays unless they have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.
- In order to enter the UK, a negative Covid-19 test must be completed 72 hours before travel and presented to staff on planes, trains and ferries in order to board.
- Covid-19 restrictions around takeaway and click and collect services in Scotland are to tighten. Only shops selling essential items – such as clothing, footwear, baby equipment, homeware and books – will be allowed to offer click and collect and takeaways can no longer allow customers indoors and must instead operate from a hatch or doorway. (BBC)
- International travellers will need to present a negative Covid-19 test to enter England from 4am on Friday 15 January. Passengers will be required to take a test in the 72 hours before departure by plane, train or ferry, and provide evidence of a negative result or be refused permission to board. (The Guardian)
- The Telegraph has published a useful guide to the current state of play regarding travel passports, who may need them, and which countries will enforce their use. (The Telegraph)
- com and Jet2holidays have suspended all flights and holidays until 25 March, meaning the airline has essentially closed for the current season. (TTG)
- Virgin Atlantic and easyJet staff are being drafted in to help with the NHS vaccine effort in the coming months. Staff for both airlines are expected to be fast tracked into the system to help with administering the vaccine in various capacities. (The Independent)
- All air passengers arriving in the United States will be required to provide evidence of a negative pre-departure test for coronavirus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed. (TTG)
- The requirement for international travellers to provide proof of a negative pre-departure Covid test on arrival and still go into quarantine is likely to last at least until mid-March. That is according to industry sources preparing to implement the new rules, who say there is a realisation the situation is “grim”. (Travel Weekly)
- Customer confidence has been “hit hard” by lockdown – but bookings are still being made for summer 2021 and into 2022 with agents urge not to “write off” sales this peak. Alan Cross, head of trade sales at Jet2holidays, said: “Customers’ confidence has been hit, and it’s been hit hard, but there’s a lot of pent-up demand. There are encouraging signs.” (Travel Weekly)
- VIP Ski saved as former boss leads acquisition of business. The business and certain assets of APS-Select Ltd, including the trading name of collapsed operator VIP Ski, have been acquired by a firm headed by its former boss. (Travel Weekly)
- Kuoni has launched a ‘one-stop advice hub’ detailing requirements and restrictions that are in place for travel. The company’s Covid Travel Advice Hub is available online for anyone to use, designed with the view of making it easier for viewers to plan holidays for the year ahead. (Travel Weekly)
- Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair have both been rated the worst airlines out of the UK’s six major carriers when it comes to customer satisfaction over refunds. In a new Which? survey, both only received a customer satisfaction rating of 13 per cent. The consumer champion asked 1,559 people in September about their experiences of claiming a refund for a flight cancelled during the pandemic. (Independent)
- Ski operator Alpine Elements collapsed into administration on Tuesday 12 January, but the owner of the 23-year-old business has bought back the brand, goodwill and trademark. (Travel Mole)
- The United Arab Emirates will be taken off the UK’s travel corridor list, meaning travellers returning from the destination will have to quarantine for 10 days. Transport secretary Grant Shapps made the announcement on Twitter shortly after 7.30pm on Monday January 11. It means that from 4am on January 12, travellers arriving in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Umm Al-Quwain, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah must self-isolate for 10 days. (Travel Weekly)
- The US House of Representatives has voted to impeach Donald Trump, for the second time. He’s the first President to be impeached twice and, with 10 Republicans crossing the floor to support the impeachment vote, he also holds the record for the most bipartisan impeachment yet. The United States’ Senate will now vote on whether or not to uphold the impeachment and, if they do, Trump cannot run for public office again. (BBC)
- Headline news across social is that Donald Trump has been suspended from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube after the storming of the Capitol last week. The situation’s not as straightforward as it seems and, technically, he was banned on Twitter for circumventing a temporary suspension with another account (an offence according to their Terms of Service) after he tried to dodge his two-week suspension for inciting violence by tweeting, as himself, from the White House account.
- As he’s now been formally suspended entirely, his tweets have been archived but the account is no longer accessible.
- Upstart conservative social network Parler has also been removed from the Internet because of its role in organising the Capitol riots. One by one, the pieces of their tech stack (the digital infrastructure that lets them have a visible website) removed them from their platforms as they refused to clamp down on violent rhetoric amid fears of a worsening storm.
- Similarly, Facebook will now start censoring posts that reference #StopTheSteal in an effort to crack down on potential upstarts of rioting.
- Elsewhere in social, WhatsApp is facing some backlash over privacy changes that mean WhatsApp users now give their data to Facebook and Instagram for advertising purposes. Encrypted messaging app Signal, founded by one of WhatsApp’s co-founders, has been the news’ biggest beneficiary with similar app Telegram also shooting up the App Store and Play Store charts.
- For the more banal, but functional, news — LinkedIn has added swipe up links to LinkedIn Stories. But, as per Instagram Stories’ swipe up rules, you can only add links from LinkedIn Page Stories or from your personal Stories if you have over 5,000 connections or followers. Story link access for all users has been a contentious issue for Instagram basically since they were rolled out but maintaining a standard for access to the feature helps keep spam at bay.
- New data from Pew Research Center shows that 72% of Americans now get news through social media in one form or another. Facebook claims the crown, with 36% of Americans getting their news there, and YouTube comes second at 23%. Twitter slots nicely into third place, at 15%.
- In an effort to curb the conservatism that’s recently overtaken social media’s image, Facebook has appointed a new VP of Civil Rights to fix its approach to inclusion and diversity. Meanwhile, YouTube and TikTok are developing Black Voices programs, with YouTube announcing their first cohort of #YouTubeBlackVoices, while TikTok launches a new Black Creatives program to foster new talent on the increasingly popular app.
- As part of TikTok’s inevitable growing up, they’ve also announced policy updates to better protect the young users who are driving the platform’s explosive growth. All new accounts with registered ages between 13-15 are now private by default which means you won’t be able to see their videos unless they accept you as a follower. More than one third of TikTok’s users are under 14 so expect to see a lot of policy updates to protect users — and to protect TikTok’s bottom line after a series of fines for illegal collection of data from minors.
- Curious what Facebook sees as the ‘Future of Shopping’? They’ve just published a new long read from Facebook IQ about what shopping looks like both in-store and online in the near and far future. They’ve also published regional reports so you can find out what the UK’s ecommerce and digital engagement trends look like here.